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AP Human Geography Course Overview 

AP Human Geography is a yearlong course in which students will learn how to study and view the world through spatial organization- relating how location of places, people and events are connected, organized, and how they shape the Earth.  Students will learn to use geographic methods such as observation, data collection, cartography, and case study analysis to help gain insight into the dynamics of the Earth's various landscapes.  Additionally, students will learn of the impact global cultural interactions can have on the environment both on a local and global scale. 

Units of study: 

  • Geography: Its Nature and Perspective 

  • Population and Migration 

  • Cultural Patterns and Processes 

  • Political Organization of Space 

  • Agricultural and Rural Land Use 

  • Industrialization and Economic Development 

  • Cities and Urban Land Use 

Texts and Study Materials 

Fouberg, Erin H., Alexander B. Murphy, and H.J. de Blij. Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture. 10th ed. John Wiley and Sons. 2012. 

Wood, Ethel. AP* Human Geography: A Study Guide. 3rd ed. Germantown, NY.  WoodYard Publications. 2012.  
AP Human Geography Test Date

May 13, 2014

Grade layout:  

60% major grades and 40% daily grades


Major Grades:  

Major grades consist of unit tests, document essays, and projects. 


Daily Grades: 

Daily grades consist of in-class assignments, homework, and quizzes on assigned readings. 


Class Policies 

-The school tardy policy and attendance policy will be strictly enforced.   

-The school restroom policy is followed. 

-No food or drink is allowed in the classroom per school policy. 

-I must be able to read your handwriting.  If I can’t read the work, the grade is a ZERO. 
Make Up and Late Work 

If you are going to be frequently absent, you will not be successful in this class. However, if you do miss a day of class, it is YOUR responsibility to find out what you missed. Any assignments that were due on the day you were absent are to be turned in the class period you return. For each day you were absent, you will receive one school day to turn in homework and class work missed without penalty.

Course Assessments

Students will be assessed in a variety of ways. Primarily, students will be assessed in the classroom as they will be assessed on the May APHG Exam. Students will take unit multiple choice exams and free response exams. Students will take chapter quizzes over readings and lecture. Finally, students will have multiple geographic activities, applications and mini-projects to complete in all units throughout the yearlong course. Students will use multiple forms of technologies this year.

Course Outline: 



C1- The course provides a systematic study of the nature of geography.

C2- The course provides a systematic study of perspectives of geography.

C11- The course teaches students how to use and interpret maps and spatial data.

  1. What is human geography?

  2. Basic terminology of geography – globalization, spatial distribution, 5 themes of geography, perception of places, patterns, distribution, scale, location (absolute and relative), environmental determinism, cultural landscape, sense of place, built environment, possibilism, place, centrality, GIS, diffusion (expansion, contagious, hierarchical, stimulus, relocation), cultural barrier, time-distance decay, mental maps, remote sensing, regions (functional, formal, perceptual), mental maps, sequent occupance, hearths, independent invention

  3. EXAM I – Multiple Choice and Free Response Question

  4. Unit Breakdown:


Percentage of AP exam covered


1. Geography- It’s nature and perspectives

5 – 10 %

De blij- Chapter 1

  • Geographic map skills- world mapping project

    • Making a world map out of an orange/balloon activity

    • “Mental Mapping: your elementary playground

    • Types of maps activity

    • Dating assignment- sequence occupance

    • Scale activity

    • Exercise – Making, Manipulating, and Interpreting Maps


C3- The course provides a systematic study of population geography.  

C12- The course teaches students how to use and interpret geographical models.

  1. Population terminology – distribution, density, arithmetic and physiologic density, dot maps, megalopolis census, demography, dependency ratio, J-curve, fertility, crude birth rate, crude death rate, total fertility rate, infant mortality, child mortality, natural increase, sex ratios, negative population growth, eugenics, carrying capacity, cohort, natal, demographic momentum, exponential growth, doubling time, age-sex diagrams, mortality types/rates, step migration, chain migration, intervening opportunity, immigration (internal, external, forced, international), transhumance, activity space, emigration, push/pull factors, refugees, guest workers, quotas, history of US migration, demographic transition model, residential mobility

  2. Exam II and Free Response Question

  3. Unit breakdown:


Percentage of AP exam covered


2. Population and migration


De blij- Chapter 2-3

  • Create population pyramids/age sex diagrams and analyze type of growth, level of development and future implications. Sources: www.prb.org, www.census.gov

  • Migration project- chose a major global migration, research it, and present via powerpoint presentation

  • Models – What is a model? Why do geographers use models?

  • Population Models and Theories – Demographic Transition Model, Gravity Model, Malthusian population issues

  • Population Policies – pro-natal and anti-natal policies, case studies from China, India, Japan and Russia

    • Hans Rosling 200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes www.gapminder.org

    • Choropleth Maps

    • Demographic Calculations – calculating RNI, total population, etc.

    • The Gravity Model



C4- The study provides a systematic study of cultural patterns and processes.
A. Cultural Terms – folk and pop culture, local culture, material and nonmaterial culture, built environment, acculturation, assimilation, cultural appropriation, neolocalism, ethnic neighborhoods, commodification, distance decay, time-space compression, placelessness, glocalization, maladaptive diffusion, sequent occupance, architecture, folk foods, characteristics of Popular and Folk Culture, Ethnocentrism, Cultural Relativism, Homogeneity, Heterogeneity, Material and Nonmaterial Culture, Housing types

B. Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Identity and Sexuality – changing US populations of race, racial segregation in cities, invasion and succession, identity and space, cultural identity, sexuality and space, queer theory, women, gender issues, power and space, barrioization

C. Language– standard language, dialect, groups, families, isogloss, language (family, group, divergence & convergence), Renfrew hypothesis, Indo-European languages

D. Modern language issues – lingua franca, Creole, pidgin, multi-lingual states, sound shifts, Esperanto, linguistic transition zones, official languages, Linguistic revival, extinct languages, languages laws, toponym – post-colonial, post-revolution, memorial, commodification

E. Religion -secularism, animism, syncretism, ethnic religion, universalizing religion, proselytizing, monotheism, polytheism, Shamanism, diaspora, sacred sites, pilgrimage, geomancy, reincarnation, social distance

F. Political Conflict and Religion – ethnic cleansing, enclave, exclave, jihad, fundamentalism, extremism, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, former Yugoslavia, Horn of Africa, Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, others), Islam (Sunni, Shi’a, Sufi), Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform), Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana), Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism and other religions, Sacred architecture, sacred space, sacred directions, burial practices, Feng Shui

H. Language theories & diffusion – agricultural, dispersal & conquest theories

I. EXAM III – Multiple Choice and Free Response

J. Unit Breakdown:


Percentage of AP exam covered


3. Culture patterns and processes


De blij- Chapter 4-7

  • Cultural Landscape project

  • Succession in Vancouver

  • Dowry Deaths to illustrate power relationships

  • Culture Stations (compare and contrast folk vs. popular culture, McDonald’s: trace the diffusion from local to global, Types of music-what is the hearth and map diffusion, material vs. non-material culture)

  • Identity map- how it’s constructed

  • “Toponyms: Seriously! Possum Grape and Booger Hollow?”

  • Video – “In French, Please!!”

  • Pop –vs- Soda – students use the www.popvssoda.com webpage to attempt to define cultural regions using linguistic differences among users of soft drinks

  • “English Will Be the Global Lingua Franca of the Future” – Classroom debate (pro and con) over this statement

  • “Is Your Religion What You Think It Is?” – Students use a SelectSmart.com webpage to learn about 27 different religions

  • “Re-mapping Africa: Creating non-Colonial Boundaries” – Students work in groups to create new political boundaries in Africa using cultural data. Students decide if boundaries should be based more on ethnolinguistic, religious, tribal and/or other cultural characteristics


(Political Organization of Space)- 2 weeks

C5- The course provides a systematic study of political organization of space.

  1. Political terminology – sovereignty, territorial integrity, boundary types, evolution of boundaries, territorial morphology types, nation, state, nation-state, stateless nation, Conference of Berlin, mercantilism, Peace of Westphalia, irredentism, enclave, exclave, theocracy, landlocked, centripetal/centrifugal forces, unitary/federal states, core, periphery, semiperiphery, tribalism, colonialism, neocolonialism, electoral geography, gerrymandering, reapportionment, majority-minority district, forward capital, primate city, median-line principle, EEZs, law of the sea, devolution, supranationalism, geopolitics, gateway state, Nunavut, raison d’être, shatterbelt, Balkanization, annexation, confederation Territorial Morphology and Boundaries, Political Theories – Heartland, Rimland, Organic, World Systems Analysis

  2. EXAM IV – Multiple Choice and Free Response

  3. Unit breakdown:


Percentage of AP exam covered


4. Political organization of space


De blij- Chapter 8

  • One Day at War

  • Political Issues Project

  • Territory Disputes

  • Antarctica Conflict

  • “Mapping Electoral Change” – Students map electoral changes using web resources. Major focus during national elections. www.redistrictinggame.com

  • “Devolution and Supranationalism” – Students read and use case studies to apply these terms


C8-The course provides a systematic study of cities and urban land use.

C9- The course teaches the use of landscape analysis to examine human organization of space.

C11- The course teaches students how to use and interpret maps and spatial data.

C12-The course teaches students how to use and interpret geographical models.

  1. Urban terminology – urban morphology, agricultural surplus, urban hierarchy, urban function, Sunbelt phenomenon, hinterland, site, situation, central business district, suburbs, exurbs, edge cities, hamlet, village, town, city, metropolis, megalopolis, redlining, blockbusting, white flight, gated communities, tear-downs, McMansions, covenants, zoning, gentrification, NIMBY, DINKs, suburbanization, rank-size rule, basic/nonbasic sectors, multiplier effect, urban specialization, range of sale (economic reach), threshold, nesting, centrality, megacities, world cities, tenement, census, in-filling, sprawl, bid rent, peak land value intersection, informal economy, Urban Models – Central Place Theory, Concentric Zone, Sector, Multiple Nuclei, Urban Realms, World City, Latin American, Southeast Asian, African

  2. Gender Issues in Urban Geography

  3. EXAM VI – Multiple Choice and Free Response

  4. Unit Breakdown:


Percentage of AP exam covered


5. Civilization and Urbanization


De blij- Chapter 9

  • 100 Person earth

  • Latin America City Study

    • Who is Moving Where?” – students study shifting U.S. urban patterns using http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/04/migration-moving-wealthy-interactive-counties-map.html

    • Video - Veggie Tales – Gated Communities

    • “Three Classic Models of Urban Structure” – students compare and contrast the three classic urban models

    • Urban Geography using the NFL, NHL, MLB and the NBA – students map professional sports franchises in 1950 and again today to see the shifts in urban population and patterns.

    • Video - Power of Place Video segments on Boston and Chicago


C6: The course provides a systematic study of agriculture and rural land use.

C11- The course teaches students how to use and interpret maps and spatial data.

C12: The course teaches students how to use and interpret geographical models.

  1. Agricultural terminology – organic agriculture, economic activities (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary,quinary), plant/animal domestication, hunting/gathering, subsistence farming, shifting agriculture (milpa, swidden, patch, slash and burn), land survey systems (metes & bounds, long-lot, township-&-range, rectangular land), nucleated and dispersed settlements, plantation agriculture, extractive activities, luxury crops, staple crops, cash crops, dairying, livestock, ranching, Mediterranean agriculture, organic agriculture, truck farm, market gardening, yields, double-cropping, transhumance, illegal drug crops, sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, favela, debt-for-nature swap, intertillage, feedlot, loss of productive farmland

  2. Agricultural Revolutions – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, biotechnology, biogenetics, cloning, genetically modified foods

  3. Intensive and Extensive Agriculture

  4. Plant Origins

  5. Agricultural Models and Major Concepts - von Thünen’s Model, Agribusiness, Vertical Integration, Commercial Agriculture, Green Revolution, Organic Agriculture, Genetically Modified Foods/Organisms (GMF/O)

  6. Geographies of Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

  7. Gender issues in agriculture

  8. Exam V and Free Response

  1. Unit Breakdown:


Percentage of AP exam covered


6. Agriculture


De blij- Chapter 11

    • Field Trip to grocery store- map your food origins

    • Food Inc. reflection

    • “Where is What Grown?” – Students use the 21st Edition of Goode’s Atlas to ascertain what crops are grown where and in what quantities

    • Starbucks activity

    • Scivee.tv videos – corn, potatoes, genomes and cotton

    • Videos - The Butcher – study of meat processing and the rise of agribusiness and Harvesters – study of modern agricultural mechanization and hybridization of crops to allow for machine harvest

    • Videos – The Meatrix I, II and II½, Grocery Store Wars

UNIT 7. Industrialization and Economic Development- 2 weeks

C7- the course provides a systematic study of industrialization and economic development

  1. Development terminology – commodity chain, GNP, GDP, GNI, formal and informal economy, HDI, PPP, neo-colonialism, barriers of economic development, export processing zones, maquiladoras, special economic zone (SEZ), NAFTA, government policy and development, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), microcredit Industry and Services terminology – industrial revolution, locational interdependence, location theory (agglomeration, deglomeration, transportation costs, labor costs, raw materials), globalization, deindustrialization, outsourcing, offshore, Fordist, post-Fordist, just-in-time delivery, global division of labor, intermodal connections, break-of-bulk point,

  2. Additional Texts - comparative advantage, friction of distance, distance decay, footloose industries, location theory, substitution principle, variable costs, bid rent, zonal costs, isotim, inputs, economic sectors (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary), weight-gaining and weight-losing industries

  3. Economic/Industrial/Development Models and Theories – Weber’s Least Cost Theory, Dependency Theory, Rostow’s Modernization Model, Liberal Model, World Systems (three-tier)Theory, Structuralist Theory, Hotelling’s Model

  4. Global Shifts in Economic Geography

  5. Exam VII and Free Response Questions

  6. Unit Breakdown:


Percentage of AP exam covered


7.Industrialization and Economic Development


De blij- Chapter 10 & 12

  • “Where Do I Manufacture?” exercise – Isotim exercise where students have to calculate the best location for a manufacturing plant

  • “Thirsty Town” exercise – Where would a beer or cola manufacturer locate?

  • “Why don’t we have a mall?”- analyze why malls locate where they do

  • “Outsourcing – Who is doing what and where?” exercise – A look at global outsourcing

  • Video: Made in America- a look at an American household’s products and tracing the origins and impact on the American economy

  • “Transport and Shipping Modes” exercise– An exercise for students to determine what products are shipped cheapest by which transport mode

  • Video – Economic Geography - Trade

    • Maquiladora FRQ

Return by Friday, August 30, 2013

To ,

I have read the course description for AP Human Geography. I understand my responsibilities in this course, the requirements to be successful, and that there will be more work than in a typical class. I understand this is a college course. I will do my best to abide by class expectations, because “with great power (knowledge is power) comes great responsibility.”
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______/ ______ I understand that if I am absent, it is MY responsibility to get work I missed before the absence if it was planned in advance (i.e. sporting event, school or family trip) or the day I return to class if it was unplanned (illness), or check the website to get said assignments missed.

______/ ______ I understand this course requires the completion of outside of the school day projects, current events, and various other assignments for which I am responsible.
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